Systematic Review – An overview

Inês Maia Silva Rodrigo Gonçalves
Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

 Systematic reviews are complete and exhaustive summaries of the literature regarding a relevant question. The elaboration of the review follows a well-defined methodology to ensure the quality and objectivity of the work.

The methodology comprises five steps: 1) Defining the question that the review will answer; 2) Conducting the literature search on relevant databases using the appropriate keywords and limits; 3) Pulling articles and reading abstracts to select which should be included or excluded. The selection must be performed by two or more authors; 4) Analyzing the relevant data from the selected articles evaluating the risk of bias in each article; 5) Documenting all the search process and preparing the final report. There are several tools available to help organize the search (PICO, PRISMA, etc.) or to evaluate the risk of bias (ROBIS, Cochrane RoB 2.0, etc.) that should be used to improve the quality of the systematic review.